Trump Administration Announces $64M In New Coal Industry Investment
The Trump administration is once again looking to help bail out the dying coal industry, this time announcing a $64 million initiative to fund research and development for coal, according to The Hill.
Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette unveiled the move, called the Coal FIRST initiative, during an Atlantic Council event on Friday. Brouillette said it will “help us produce more coal-based power more efficiently and transform it into a near-zero emissions energy source.”
"Coal as a percentage of U.S. electricity generation is declining," the secretary said. "The efforts that we're undertaking is not to subsidize the industry and preserve their status ... as a larger electricity generator. It is simply to make the product cleaner and to look for alternative uses for this product."
Brouillette said the focus will be on “making coal plants smaller and more efficient,” which he claims will facilitate making the plants cleaner.
The Hill noted that coal burning power plants are becoming an increasingly small part of the U.S. energy sector, particularly as natural gas and renewable energy have become less expensive.
Mary Anne Hitt, the senior director of Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, said in a statement that the administration’s latest move is “ridiculous and wasteful.”
"The DOE putting $64 million to research new ways to burn coal is like the Pentagon spending $1 billion for new ways to fire a musket ball," she said.